What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is the process by which eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory culture dish, hence “in vitro,” which means “in glass.” The term IVF is now often used to refer to the entire process by which a woman becomes pregnant using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including ovarian stimulation, oocyte retrieval, in vitro fertilization, embryo transfer and embryo/oocyte cryopreservation.
Unlike the simpler process of intrauterine insemination (IUI) — the process in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception happens otherwise naturally — IVF involves additional steps which include medication and medical procedures to extract the egg or eggs from the woman. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus. Since its introduction in the U.S. in 1981, IVF and other similar techniques have resulted in more than 200,000 babies.